Culms spreading to nodding, (10.7-)18-39 cm, 0.5-0.8 of total plant height. Leaves: basal sheaths pale brown to dark brown; blades green, exceeding culms, 1.4-3.7 mm wide, herbaceous, margins green, smooth or scabrous. Lateral spikes 1-4, basal, on nodding peduncles. Terminal spikes with staminate portion 4-61-flowered, (4-)12.7-25.6 × 0.7-1.4 mm; pistillate portion 2-4(-6)-flowered. Pistillate scales green, sometimes tinged with white or reddish brown, (0.9-)1.2-2.4 mm wide, apex attenuate to green awns; distal scales with hyaline margins 0.3-0.8 mm wide, not more than 1.5 times as wide as and not concealing perigynia, apex acute, awnless. Staminate scales green or tinged with light brown, ovate, 2.2-3.9 × 1.6-2 mm, margins free but enfolding scales above, hyaline, white, apex obtuse, erose. Anthers 0.8-1.5 mm. Perigynia pale green to pale brown, often speckled reddish brown, narrowly ovoid or lance-ovoid, (5.8-)6.2-7.6(-8) × 1.4-2 mm, tightly enveloping achenes, apex gradually tapering; beak (2.5-)2.7-3.7(-4.3) mm, scabrous. Stigmas filiform, flexuous, long, slender, strongly papillose. Achenes brown, oblong, (2.4-)2.6-3(-3.4) × (1.3-)1.5-1.7(-1.9) mm.
Fruiting spring-summer (mid Mar-mid Jul). Neutral or slightly acidic soils in mesic to wet mesic deciduous forests, usually on lower slopes above flood plains of rivers and streams; 50-1000 m; Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., Okla., S.C., Tenn., Tex.